Menu

How to Fall Back in Love With Your Life

Pure Joy

“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” ~Daisaku Ikeda

Ever found yourself in a rut, just waiting for some force of the Universe to pull you out?

When ennui sets in, it can be hard to find a way back into the light, but it typically takes a series of events and choices for us to be living a life out of sync with our personal goals, values, and passions.

Last year, I found myself in one of these ruts. After spinning my wheels for quite some time, I realized my so-called attempts at improving my circumstances were a farce—I was just exhausting my energy waiting for a savior to come to my rescue.

Finally, when that savior never came, I snapped out of it and acknowledged I don’t live in some fantasy novel, and can’t invoke, by sheer will, a knight in shining armor. As Alice Sebold wrote in her memoir, Lucky, “You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”

At the time, I was in a job I had long outgrown. A job that no longer provided challenge, growth, or even companionship. This alone had come to impact everything else in my life.

Spending solitary day after solitary day was taking its toll, zapping my energy. By the end of the day, I no longer had anything left and didn’t want to do the things I normally enjoyed, like yoga or meeting with friends. I even struggled to regularly apply to new positions, disappointed and despairing with each rejection.

Since I had just completed my masters program, I felt even more frustrated at my prospects. Had I just wasted three years of my life pursuing a degree that didn’t fit with my values or goals? Would I need to go to school all over again?

Too many unanswered questions left me feeling hopeless and unmotivated.

Then I met Hazel, a career coach I instantly connected with. It took me a few months, but I finally called her to schedule a session.

Hazel helped me work through my self-limiting beliefs, determine my values—and value—and recognize that I could live authentically right now. I didn’t have to start from scratch.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Take the long way home.

Sometimes it takes a literal change in perspective to change your mental perspective. During a week when my car was in the shop, I decided to walk home instead of catching the bus.

It was raining outside, and the walk was at least seven miles, but I had nowhere to be. Some of the roads I took were roads I’d never taken before and some I’d driven many times. All of them were new to me that day.

When I first moved to Denver, I walked everywhere, and everything was magical because it was new and special and offered up so much possibility. After being here for three years, the novelty had worn off and it was familiar—and the magic and possibility I felt at twenty-four seemed to have worn off with it.

This walk brought me back the basics and opened my heart back up to the magic. I didn’t have to move to a new place, a place that would also inevitably become home and lose its magic if I let it. I just had to change my perspective.

When we get bored or restless, we don’t necessarily have to move on. By taking the long way home, I fell back in love with my town, and by changing my physical perspective, I was able to see all of the possibilities that had been there all along.

2. Move.

I highly encourage movement to be a part of your daily life. Like anyone else, I can and will find excuses not to get outdoors or to yoga, but when I do, I feel recharged, centered, and empowered. Movement does this faster and better than anything else I’ve found.

There’s a funny saying that if you stand on your head for a few minutes every day, you’ll change your perspective. I think this goes movement, too. When you shift your focus through movement, you start to see things a little differently, and the possibilities open up again.

3. Surround yourself with the right people.

There’s nothing wrong with relating to people or venting every now and again, but it’s also important to surround yourself with people and conversations that leverage enthusiasm, excitement, and satisfaction. Spend time with people who build you up, see and encourage your strengths, and who are, themselves, living authentically.

Energy is contagious, and if you’re around positive energy and speaking with others in terms of positivity, you’ll begin to restructure your thinking, and, ultimately, the way you see and experience the world around you.

4. Be present.

I know, I know—this one’s been said before. But it can’t be said enough. One of the main reasons people feel dissatisfaction with their life is because they’re missing it.

When we’re not present, we become a little numb.

Taking in this very moment as it is, truly engaging—rather than living in your head, thinking about what comes next, or brooding (or pining) over what has past—can really heighten your appreciation and keep you from feeling that sense of emptiness that results from living somewhere other than the here and now.

You may even be surprised by how easy it is to learn new things or remember pieces of information when you start to fully tune in.

5. Identify your values.

I had to identify human connection as one of my top values before I realized there was nothing wrong with me just because I couldn’t work in isolation. Once I recognized what was vital to my emotional well-being, I could pursue a life that ensured my values were a part of my daily world.

What are your values? We often admire others and think we should be doing what they are doing to be successful and satisfied with our lives. In actuality, we probably admire them because they are living out their own truth. Authenticity is attractive, not quality X, Y or Z.

Look within, not to others, to find your values; once you do, figure out how they can be put into action so you are living your most authentic life, and start taking steps, large or small, to make them your reality.

6. Serve others.

Ever notice how a little time in your head can help clarify things, while too much time just makes everything murkier? Get out of there, already!

I hate to say it, but we (and I include myself in this statement) are a bit of a self-absorbed society. When we’re always thinking about me, myself and I, we become quickly dissatisfied. Maybe it’s too much time spent with unproductive thoughts or a lack of connectedness, but this self-absorption can quickly bring us down.

The surest way to stop thinking about yourself is to start thinking about someone else. When you do something for someone else—out of love, compassion or connectedness—not obligation, you might find you’ve forgotten your troubles, and life actually feels fuller, more meaningful.

I believe we are all connected and thus all have our own roles to play in which we contribute to the collective good. When we connect to that role, we simultaneously connect to our purpose and to each other, filling up that hollowness we can get when we’re not feeling so in love with our life.

Falling back in love with your life requires a little determination and reflection, but mostly it’s about letting go and just tuning in—to your most authentic self and to the world and people around you.

Photo by bellaleb-photo

About Meghan Camp

Meghan is a Denver-based grantwriter and advocate for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs whose work reflects vision and perseverance for a better world. She strives to inspire a sense of connectedness as well as facilitate positive transformations in people, systems and organizations through her writing. Read more about Meghan and her personal reflections on life and relationships at Marvelousunknownthings.com.

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • hanky

    yacobsen

  • Michael

    Thank you for sharing this post. This is wonderful and wise beyond years. I think my biggest challenge from the points you raised is not comparing myself to friends, neighbors and coworkers who seem outwardly successful. Comparisons have their purpose but if they are allowed to, they will poison the mind with greed, jealousy and self-loathing. A second challenge is having the grace to accept what I have done so far as “the best I could do in my present state” and not lose heart when life hasn’t quite gone my way. To anyone who reads your helpful and insightful post, I would just remind them to have grace and patience for themselves and others. It’s not a race – just your own beautiful journey.

  • I like the part about identifying values. In the last few months, I have been really touching base with this and for the longest time I thought if someone could do x then I could do x too even when I felt like y was more my thing. So your need for human connection rather than feeling like you should be ok in isolation is something I can relate to as well. I need that in my life and for the longest time I was convinced that being alone should also bring me the same joy I feel when i connect with a person. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  • Andrea Kelly

    I agree with all of your points but especially connect with walking & taking a different route. I started walking home with my kids after school last year (which is a long walk) & as much as they complain about it, we have connected in a much different way. We explore together, they get their frustrations out & we all get some fresh air. It is so easy to do and does bring you back to the basics.

  • Talya Price

    I believe that the third tip is something that I am working on. It is very important to surround yourself with the right people. This can be difficult because there are people who pretend to be your friend but in reality they are not. I think that is you have a true knowledge of yourself. Once you have a true sense of self, it will be easier to attract the right people in your life.

  • Maria Riley

    ♥ this post, Meghan!

  • Alyssa Russell

    You. Are. Amazing. Thank you for reminding me how to see the light…

  • L

    2. Move.
    Get an inversion table…best way to get on your head daily!

  • lv2terp

    Wonderful post!!!!! Thank you for sharing such wonderful insight/tips, and your experience! I love how you ended the post by saying “Falling back in love with your life requires a little determination and
    reflection, but mostly it’s about letting go and just tuning in—to your
    most authentic self and to the world and people around you.”:)

  • beachmama

    Excellent post Meghan. I agree with everything you’ve said but top of the list for me would be ~ Identify your values. Often times when I ask people, “what are your top five values?” they stare at me dumbfounded. They have no idea, no ones every asked, they’ve never thought about it. If you identify your values and then live by them you don’t need to second guess yourself. I’ve used this in parenting my son (now 18 years-old) and it’s made parenting SO much easier, fun and a pleasure. Some of my top values are: love/connection, health/well-being, fun ~ with those values I’ve determined some “musts” for me. For instance, I MUST be out in nature and walk/hike/kayak everyday and I MUST nurture my marriage, my relationship w/my son, my friends/family relationships, and whatever I do I look for how to make it fun!

  • Thanks Meghan, for sharing such a nice thoughts. I really liked it Stay Blessed.

  • Nymeria

    I agree with you 100%. Sometimes circumstances bring people together and we welcome them as friends. I believe our unconscious mind always knows the truth though. Here’s a good trick to see if a friend really brings value into your life. Next time they call or send you an email notice the first thing you feel when you see their name.

  • Maladjusted

    Wonderfull words Mickeal. Full of wisdom and truth. Thank you. Namaste.

  • Laura Vescovi

    Thank you for the timely information! I have started looking at the quality of friendships and the level of connection have with my friends!

  • Talya Price

    That is good advice. I will try it. Thanks. 🙂

  • Meghan

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Michael. I couldn’t agree more. This is a challenge of mine as well! It is so easy to see others’ successes and forget what we, too, have accomplished. Something i read somewhere really resonated with me, although I still struggle with this–that instead of comparing, look to others with admiration and as a source of inspiration. Not always easy to do when you’re feeling “behind,” but as you said, it’s not a race–it’s about living authentically your own journey, whatever that may be. Once you acknowledge that’s what it’s about, there’s no need to compare. We are all so different!

  • Meghan

    Love this, beachmama! I think this is a huge one too–that so many people forget about. We get so caught up in the daily grind, doing what we think we are “supposed” to be doing, that we forget that this one thing can lead us to so much more satisfaction. As you say, once you recognize what your values are, you make sure to pay closer attention to those things, so they’re in your daily life. If you don’t do that, it’s so easy to just go with the flow and end up living a life that’s not in tune with who you are! I also love your top values! They’re mine too!

  • Meghan

    I’ve been trying to do headstands, but an inversion table sounds great!!

  • Michael Heuer

    Solid article Meghan. I’m a huge believer in being able to rescue yourself, and fixing your own perspective — kind of on a stoicism kick. I only get caught up on serve others. Sometimes we escape into the service of others in order to ignore our underlying problems. I worry that the service starts becoming a drug for the volunteer. They ignore their own problems in order to better others. Reading that it’s totally awesome to be helping others, and developing a solid sense of selflessness, but you need to remember yourself at the end of the day, and what you truly deserve as a beautiful person.

    Just so I’m transparent, I’m just trying to spark a dialogue. I love the article.

    Cheers

    Michael Heuer

  • Meghan

    I agree, Talya–I’ve had a lot of friends who turned out to not be such great friends, after all. You can feel taken advantage of. I think that just like we seek out other aspects of our lives with intention, we can seek out friends who will enrich our lives and support us through good times and bad. Having a strong sense of self can really help here as well as some awareness (often gained the hard way from good old-fashion experience!) of those personalities that are manipulative or bring negative energy into our lives.

  • Meghan

    That is good advice, Nymeria–I will definitely try this!

  • Meghan

    Yes! It really does get you back the basics, and just by taking a little extra time, we are able to connect with each other and everything around us in a much more visceral way! So wonderful to hear you are passing this experience down to your kids! They may complain now, but these are the times they’ll remember fondly!

  • Meghan

    So glad this resonated with you, Mariel!

  • Meghan

    I’m glad you liked this, Laura! It really is amazing what the quality of our friendships can do for our life!

  • Meghan

    Thanks, Harpreet! So glad you liked it! The best to you.

  • Meghan

    Oh, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed this 🙂 I find that it takes less work than we think–awareness can take us so far, if we just stop long enough to let it!

  • Meghan

    Aw, thank you, Alyssa! It means so much to me that my thoughts and experiences have resonated so much with others!

  • Meghan

    Thanks, Maria!

  • Meghan

    Great point, Michael. I think just like anything, acts of services can become a way of tuning out.When we act out of connectedness and in combination with real self-awareness, I think it can be a powerful tool–not to escape ourselves or our troubles, but to recognize that we are not alone, and to put those problems, whatever they may be, into perspective. Thanks for your awesome feedback!

  • Thanks so much for creating this post, Meghan! What you wrote really resonated with me, and I especially liked reading how taking the long way home and how movement can reinvigorate your love, give perspective, and open up one’s self to new possibilities.

    A question I have is: how can I identify and rank my own values? I suspect that values of love, family, and friends would rank very high on my list, but I would like some reassurance through either a written test or formal activity. Do you have any ideas?

    Thanks again for writing this helpful and insightful post!

  • medeea

    Thank you so much! I really needed this! I came across your article through my friend Bella, who took the picture you used and weirdly enough , i am in it! I feel like the universe has lent me a hand to overcome the frustration i’ve been dealing with lately. I can relate to so many of the things you mentioned…thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Taking action is what we all must do. A bias to action is core to being sucessful. If we wait for the right mood or situation we could wait a long time.

    Action can be small and from even a tiny step we gain momentum and confidence to tackle the tougher challenges in life.

  • Live Grow Enjoy

    This is all so true. Especially the part about identifying your values. Knowing you aim and purpose in life can make all the difference.

    http://www.livegrowenjoy.com/live/aim-and-purpose-5192791

    And then just start doing some things differently (like taking the long way home) to wake yourself up!

  • Melanie Lapensee

    This is such an intriguing and well-written post. I cannot agree more that being present is an important factor to truly loving your life. We live in such a rushed society that we don’t take the time to be mindful and present enough. As a holistic therapist, I think all these points are wonderful and can be impactful. Holistic therapy can also help in this situation alongside with your advice – you can read more about it on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/holisticmelanie

  • Meghan

    Hi Christina,
    Just saw your post, so sorry for my delayed response. When I worked with a coach, we did a few different activities to rank my values. One involved thinking up my perfect day–what would that involve? and then breaking it down to identify all of the different reasons that day would be ideal. That allows you to get more specific about the things that are important to you. So, for example, in my perfect day, I was outdoors quite a bit and had a mix of “me” time and social time. That helped me recognize that I value connection a lot, but still need some space for thought. And being outside, connecting with nature just has to be part of my day or I feel jipped. Personality tests can also be helpful–when taken with a grain of salt (they’re helpful but by no means prescriptive). I’ve found the Meyers Briggs and the Strengths Finder tests to be helpful in at least confirming some of my personal values. Hope that helps!

  • Meghan

    What a small world, Medeea! So glad this helped you 🙂

  • Abide

    I would like to expound on a statement that “pops” for me: “when that savior never came, I snapped out of it and acknowledged….”

    This can be extremely difficult to do and can take years. One of the biggest reasons is that our core beliefs about who we are, aka our ego/false self, is attached to it. For me, as well as many others, religion complicates the matter because then you are REALLY waiting for a savior. One need not be weak of mind – one only needs to be sincere in endeavoring to be faithful to a God who is outside of ourselves and requires our “obedience” to “his” will. That can make a difficult life so much more difficult.

    The ego is chiefly concerned with self-preservation. Humans have typically conceived of God as A being who is located out there, separate from ourselves. What I now realize I have done is mix the two. I was taught to do so, but it is a human tendency and I take responsibility for it. This image of God is formed in the mind – then PROJECTED.

    Likewise, when the ego is on red-alert, it looks for every means it can find to the end of self-preservation. When it lacks ability to remove the threat, it looks for outside help. When you’ve already projected this mythological image of God, the ego lumps the two together and projects its fears, worries, and all other unsettling responses and their triggers onto the projected image of God. The problem is – even if we are conceiving of God in accord with what God’s nature actually is, we are still dealing with a god of religious imagination, nonetheless. Even if we are right to believe in God the way we do, from a theological standpoint, we aren’t really dealing with God or theology – we are dealing with our projected mental image and it is giving a negative-reinforcement to the ego.

    Here’s another problem with the whole thing – it’s a crutch. We think we are obligated to be “faithful” to this mythological projected image and read it into the religious teaching we receive, just as those who teach it to us have also done. We yield control to something that doesn’t exist, then when our expectations aren’t met, we struggle with disappointment and the religious voice in our head to which we’ve yielded control comes along and says “God is testing you. Keep believing – God is strengthening your faith” or something like that. It says all kinds of things, but the whole time – it’s not God speaking. It’s an instilled religious voice that is formulated over time by the ego identifying with religious teaching and developing our understanding and practice of it. It seems to always have an answer – God is testing our faith, or won’t interfere with other people’s free will, or even Jesus suffered and God didn’t remove it, or whatever – it always has an answer because it is designed to preserve itself. This shows it is the ego doing the speaking. Don’t get me wrong – I will say it again – this doesn’t mean our beliefs about God are necessarily wrong, but we don’t know that and cannot know that. God is a mystery to us and when we look to religion to fill the liminal space with certitude just to make us feel safe and secure (which, again, is the ego using religion to get a fix and mask over our unknowing), we make ourselves vulnerable to this religious voice the ego identifies with and forms over the years.

    It’s all a big fat lie we don’t want to face because it hurts to give up the crutch.

  • Tom Matlock

    Thankyou for writing this post. I worked 100 hours a week in the oilfield for 2.5 years, and finally got fired for sleeping in, essentially saying “screw it.” I was burned out. And missing life. 2 months post-oilfield I still feel burned out, but this list helps me see why. Sitting alone in the house all day, not seeing people, not much exercise. Being in my head. Etc etc. I don’t know yet where I’ll go from here, but this list is magical in helping to form some kind of direction. Bless you.

  • thinkofthefuturelearnfromthepa

    Great advice, thank you very much for posting this.

  • mindfulness is really helpful with all this